Poots – Educating our children is vital in the fight against plastic pollution and waste prevention

Date published: 21 March 2022

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has attended a special performance of the latest 'Eco-Project' play at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, which aims to increase environmental awareness and promote positive behaviour change with regards to littering, recycling and single use plastics.

Minister Poots is pictured with cast members Andrew McCracken, Aimee McGoldrick, Cameron Tharmaratnam, David Craig, Shannen McNeice, Executive Producer Jimmy Fay and Creative Learning Schools Coordinator Erin Hoey, from 'A Walk Is Not Just A Walk'.

The Theatre has partnered with his Department to deliver ‘A Walk is Not Just a Walk’ to primary school children across Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the play, which was also attended by pupils from Holy Rosary Primary School in Belfast, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to attend this performance and am pleased that my Department has provided funding to enable this project to go ahead. The damaging effects of plastic pollution are clear and education and awareness raising are vital if we are to effect behaviour change. This entertaining play delivers a powerful and educational message to primary school pupils across Northern Ireland with regard to littering, recycling and single use plastics. Children are the future guardians of our environment and it is vital they are educated in the many ways that we can help to protect it. They will also then hopefully carry the message home to their families and further afield.”

The Minister continued: “As part of the commitment laid out by the Executive in 'New Decade, New Approach', my Department is leading on work to bring forward a plan to eliminate plastic pollution in Northern Ireland. We need to address the throwaway culture around plastic, but we must be careful not to demonise it all, plastic has many beneficial properties including those good for the environment such as prolonging the life of food thus reducing harmful carbon emissions from food waste. My Department will continue to partner with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, working with schools, businesses and the public sector to identify practical ways to reduce or eliminate many unnecessary single-use plastics, as well as on projects to reduce littering in our society.”

Erin Hoey, Creative Learning Manager at Lyric Theatre said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs again to deliver this exciting, environmental project to primary school audiences. This will be one of the Creative Learning department’s biggest educational ventures to date and we are looking forward to touring a newly devised piece which has such an important, topical message.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The DAERA funded Eco-Schools programme makes environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of our communities, with a focus on practical, positive environmental behavioural change.
  2. DAERA funds Keep NI Beautiful (KNIB) to manage and deliver the Eco-Schools Programme via the Environment Fund.
  3. Eco-Schools is the world’s largest environmental education programme, operating in 68 countries and involving approximately 20 million pupils. Every NI school is registered for the Eco-Schools programme, a world first. NI was also the first country in the world to award a Green Flag.
  4. The “Eco-Project” production will be touring Northern Ireland schools in March with a combined audience of over 3,000 school children.
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  6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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